I find a few key traits tend to characterize the most successful people I've worked with in the web and software business. Actually, they probably generalize to many fields, since they don't come directly from job skills and competencies. These success traits transcend simple requirements like:
- Are you good at your job?
- Do you work hard?
- Can you get along with coworkers?
- Do you manage your time effectively?
These are necessary to stay employed, but not sufficient for success. Consistent winners have other things in common. Here is the first one I've seen:
Passion with perspective. "Passion for your work" is something employers add to almost every job posting in the industry. Without an emotional connection, it's difficult to persevere through challenges and deliver good results. Indeed, many people self-actualize through work and invest plenty of themselves into the job.
At times, however, despite heroic, inspired efforts, you won't succeed. Or even get to finish what you started! The market may change, your client may run out of money, or your company may reorganize, and suddenly your project is no longer part of the master plan. I've seen many people become bitter and cynical at this stage, mourn what might have been, and remain unable to apply themselves to the next big thing.
Keep perspective about your company and project, so you don't take passion too far and burn out. The most successful people can immerse themselves into the current thing, yet when it's time, quickly shift their passions to something else. From the outside this behavior seems dissonant -- almost hypocritical. But in an industry that's always changing, it's critical for long-term success.